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Molecular strategies for gene containment in transgenic crops

Nature Biotechnology volume 20, pages 581586 (2002) | Download Citation

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  • An Erratum to this article was published on 01 August 2002

Abstract

The potential of genetically modified (GM) crops to transfer foreign genes through pollen to related plant species has been cited as an environmental concern. Until more is known concerning the environmental impact of novel genes on indigenous crops and weeds, practical and regulatory considerations will likely require the adoption of gene-containment approaches for future generations of GM crops. Most molecular approaches with potential for controlling gene flow among crops and weeds have thus far focused on maternal inheritance, male sterility, and seed sterility. Several other containment strategies may also prove useful in restricting gene flow, including apomixis (vegetative propagation and asexual seed formation), cleistogamy (self-fertilization without opening of the flower), genome incompatibility, chemical induction/deletion of transgenes, fruit-specific excision of transgenes, and transgenic mitigation (transgenes that compromise fitness in the hybrid). As yet, however, no strategy has proved broadly applicable to all crop species, and a combination of approaches may prove most effective for engineering the next generation of GM crops.

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Acknowledgements

The author is grateful to the editor of Nature Biotechnology, Andrew Marshall, for valuable contributions and thorough editing of this manuscript. The author also thanks Jonathan Gressel (Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel) for providing an advance copy of the material in the forthcoming book Molecular Biology in Weed Control, Jeremy Sweet (NIAB, Cambridge) for critical comments, and Chuck Niblett (University of Florida, Gainesville, FL) for editing the manuscript.

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  1. University of Central Florida, Department of Molecular Biology and Microbiology, 12722 Research Parkway, Orlando FL 32826-3227

    • Henry Daniell

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DOI

https://doi.org/10.1038/nbt0602-581

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